Hacktoberfest and Open Source Experience

There’re many ways to understand how to “code” In my case, I do some side projects with my friends. Sometimes when I try to solve the problems of the project, I often use technologies and stacks provided on the internet. Most of them have the documentation on their website and the most important thing is that they are sometimes using the word “open source”.

At the beginning of my journey, I thought the open-source code was as simple as using the code without the pay bill. But it turns out wrong. In my understanding, we can indeed use the code for free. More than that, open-source is a community with two roles, the maintainers and the contributors.

In September 2021, RISTEK Fasilkom UI(the biggest student organization in Indonesia operated by the Faculty of Computer Science University of Indonesia) organized an online welcoming event for their open-source projects contributors. At that event, they announced that they were participating in Hacktoberfest 2021, where the contributors could get a cool t-shirt for free and a certificate. With these very cool benefits, I dare myself to contribute to this event.

As I mentioned before, learning by doing is my best way to understand things. Contributing to an open-source project is challenging because it slightly contradicts my coding habitual which usually codes from the scratch. However, as a contributor on the open-source, we need to understand and follow through with the previous code. It takes time to understand things you don’t create from the start, and I spend more than a week understanding the project end-to-end.

After that, I began with reading and trying to resolve the issues that maintainers provide on their GitHub repository. In my case, besides reading the issues, I also gave my idea to improve the project and post my idea on their issues page.

You can use many ways to resolve the issue. But one thing you must consider is making sure that you are using components or parts created before as much as possible. Also, you must take note of the consistency of the syntax.

const HelloWorld = () => {
console.log("Hello World")
function HelloWorld(){
console.log("Hello World")

Those two syntaxes are a function, but you must consider the previous code they’re using to state a function.

There’re a few things I can learn from contributing to open-source. By contributing to open-source, you must read and understand the code from the previous version. From that, you can learn how other contributors express their code. It can improve your way of writing good code. Furthermore, Contributing to open-source projects is the best practice to learn git collaboration. In open-source, you are required to fork the repository and make a branch to contribute. From that, you will learn how to create a branch and how a branch works. The most important thing is by understanding the git branch, you can make your collaboration project more organized.

To conclude my first experience on open-source projects, at the end of October, I created five pull request that was merged and accepted to RISTEK Open Source repository. For me, contributing to open-source is more than a Hacktoberfest event and the certificate. It’s an another way to learn things from reading the code and solving the issues. Cheers to many and more contributions on open source! ♥



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